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A Washington Post story today notes that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has been hauled in to testify before Congress seven times this month, which the agency says some sort of record.

And anyone who’s been following along knows that much of Jackson’s time — both inside these hearings and out — has been spent dispelling myths and rumors about EPA regulations.

One of these charges — that agency rules governing containment of oil spills would also apply to milk spilled at dairies — surfaced at a March 3 hearing, as well as in a congressman’s newsletter to constituents, the New York Times reports.

It’s also appeared on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, a Thomas Sowell column, and on the Fox Business channel:

Sure makes for a great outrage segment, doesn’t it? Problem is, it isn’t true:

In testimony before Congress on Thursday, Ms. Jackson declared that the new rule cited by Republicans would, in fact, exempt dairy containers from the regulations that govern oil facilities — rules that have been on the books for nearly 40 years.

“It was our work with the dairy industry that prompted E.P.A. to develop an exemption and make sure the standards of the law are met in a common-sense way,” she said. “All of E.P.A.’s actions have been to exempt these containers. And we expect this to become final very shortly.”

The milk kerfuffle is one of five farm-related myths that Jackson debunked in her testimony before the House Agriculture committee last week. The others include supposed regulations on dust and pesticides drifting from farms, limits on pollution from nutrients in fertilizer, and, of course, the ever-popular tax on cow farts.

It raises the question — if there’s such an airtight case to be made against EPA regulations, why is so much of it based on flat-out misinformation?

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.